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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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of their nationality or the banner under which they were operating/'*
Since the Soviet agents and partisans in Poland did not encounter any
revolutionary embers, but only a strongly organised National Underground
pre-occupied with the one idea—to expel the Germans—they were unable
to gain any influence. Each band had baled out by parachute, and there
was no central point where these partisans could congregate in Poland.
In this country so alien to them, they could neither organise guerilla
warfare, as they had done in the Russian Civil War. nor instigate a move-
ment analogous to Jacquerie. There only remained one factor for the
Soviets to exploit, namely, the population's £ burning hatred * of the
Germans, which might perhaps be c directed by Soviet leadership.'
However, a national leadership already existed in Poland, and a very
strong one at that, while in her Eastern provinces, dread of the Russians
(after the appalling persecution of 1939-1941 and the fear of
deportation to the Soviet Union) was no less than their hatred for
the Germans; therefore the Soviet partisans could not find a niche for
themselves. Under these circumstances they represented but scant
value in the battle then being fought, and Moscow decided to use them
solely as a basis for the future Soviet reconstruction of Poland.
In this last, their preparatory role was to weaken the element most
dangerous to the future Communist order, that is, the Polish nation.
The Russian partisans were formally presented in Moscow propaganda
as an anti-German instrument, but as far as the population was concerned,
they were the representatives of a chauvinist Russia. Moscow radio
stations proclaimed them as 6 liberators,' but their action on the spot
proved to be one of * kill the squires—kill the Poles ! * although no
c squires ' had survived the hurricane of war which had twice passed over
this terrain. It must be born in mind that liquidation of the inhabitants
presented no difficulty even to the smallest partisan bands in a country
where farms were dispersed over a wide area. The Germans themselves
preferred to let things take their course. After all, it was to their ad-
vantage to have this £ dangerous Polish element' exterminated.
As the Red Army approached Poland., the number of their partisans in
several districts was strengthened by paratroops and formed into quite
large bands. Lack of relations between Poland and Russia had sad
consequences in this field of underground activities. In accordance with
the policy of their Government, the Polish leaders were inclined to
negotiate. They refused to fight any Soviet partisan and were persistent
in extending a hand in an attempt to find some compromise and unite in
an action against the German foe; but the Russians demanded complete
submission to Moscow's orders. In some cases the Soviet partisans
felt strong enough to enforce this obedience and as a result there were
several armed encounters at the end of 1943.
* " The Polish Underground Army/3 Polish Fortnightly Review3 January 15th,
1944.
179